Brighton and Hove Albion v Liverpool and Wolverhampton Wanderers v Aston Villa are the focus of our latest Scout Notes piece.
Any stats you see in this article are taken from our Premium Members Area, where you can find Opta data on each and every Premier League match.
SALAH SCORES BRACE
Sunday brought a 2-2 draw between Brighton and Liverpool, with both of the visitor’s goals tucked away by Mohamed Salah (£12.6m).
The first, a nice finish after being played in by Darwin Nunez (£7.4m), was followed by a confidently taken penalty on the stroke of half-time, with both goals arriving against the run of play.
In truth, Salah was on the periphery for large periods at the Amex, but he still racked up a match-leading five shots in the box, including two ‘big chances’.
His 15-point haul, meanwhile, puts him joint-top of the player standings in Fantasy, having blanked in just one of his first eight fixtures.
Sunday’s return was particularly timely, too, especially for those who handed him the armband, given that captaincy rivals Son Heung-min (£9.4m) and Erling Haaland (£14.1m) blanked.
As for Darwin, he didn’t offer too much in attack but assisted Salah’s equaliser and did press Brighton’s backline well.
Liverpool went behind in the 20th minute when Simon Adingra (£5.0m) capitalised on some lax defending at the back.
Virgil van Dijk (£6.0m) and Alexis Mac Allister (£5.9m) were at fault, with the latter struggling in a number six role, although others weren’t at their best either.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.9m) looked well short of match sharpness, for example, while Andrew Robertson (£6.6m) found it difficult up against Adingra on the opposite flank.
It means Liverpool have conceded first in each of their five away fixtures in 2023/24, with just one clean sheet from eight overall. The underlying numbers rank the Reds 14th for total shots allowed, meanwhile.
“One-nil, served on a plate, but similar situation [for us]; we forced them to make similar mistakes around our goals. Two-one up is a good result for half-time here because it is a really good team and it is difficult to defend them all the time. We wanted to do high pressing, it was the right thing to do, but in the same moment it caused the issue that they play out from time to time, we don’t win the ball and then the pitch is really big and [we are] chasing back. They do that well.” – Jurgen Klopp
DE ZERBI’S ENTERTAINERS
Brighton are also conceding too many goals, but like Liverpool, they are at least entertaining.
In fact, the last time they failed to score was in Gameweek 24 of 2022/23, with their eight Premier League games this season producing a whopping 37 goals, at an average of over four per match.
On Sunday, in the absence of Pervis Estupinan (£5.1m), Tariq Lamptey (£4.0m) – who wasn’t risked – and James Milner (£4.8m), Roberto De Zerbi turned to Solly March (£6.4m) at left-back.
Despite lining up in an unfamiliar role, he defended very well against Salah/Alexander-Arnold and supplied the assist for Lewis Dunk’s (£5.0m) equaliser, continuing his fine record against Liverpool.
Elsewhere, Joao Pedro (£5.3m) played well in behind Evan Ferguson (£6.0m) but missed a sitter late on.
“We are working a lot, but maybe it’s not enough, but maybe in football it just so happens we concede too many goals, but I think we don’t deserve to concede so many goals.” – Roberto De Zerbi
NETO X HWANG
Hwang Hee-chan (£5.4m) netted his fifth goal of the season at Molineux on Sunday, which have remarkably arrived from just 12 shots on goal in 2023/24.
The South Korean turned home from close range and was once again assisted by the impressive Pedro Neto (£5.7m), who himself is up to seven attacking returns for the campaign.
Deployed on the right wing in Gary O’Neil’s 5-2-3 formation, Neto ran Pau Torres (£4.5m) ragged, helping to earn Wolves a point in the West Midlands derby.
Among the top 10 midfielders for key passes and on set-pieces, it’s no surprise his ownership is up to 8.0%, with some decent fixtures on the horizon, including Bournemouth – a side who tends to struggle defending balls into the box – after the international break.
“They’ve been really good. Pedro [Neto] was excellent – he plays a big part in the goal. He’s been fantastic for us. He’s a big threat and the reason we put him that side again today was that we thought he could cause more problems that side than down this side up against Konsa. He was excellent.
Channy [Hwang] knows to arrive at the goal. We’ve worked a lot with him, and he’s obviously got, he’s obviously got a lovely knack himself, but we’ve worked a lot on making sure we arrive with bodies in the goal.
I think we’ve scored in every game now [since the first day], so for a team which was struggling to score last year, it’s good. We need to keep that going, getting the lads to understand the processes as well as we can and keep progressing.” – Gary O’Neil on Neto and Hwang’s partnership
CASH ‘OUT OF POSITION’
Pau Torres levelled up for Aston Villa in the second half, but the majority of Fantasy eyes were on Matty Cash (£5.0m), who is now the third-highest owned defender in FPL (30.7%).
Playing ‘out of position’ on the right wing ahead of Ezri Konsa (£4.5m), Cash was always looking to get forward into the attacking-third and forced a strong stop from Jose Sa (£5.0m) early on.
He kept his width well and was always an outlet for Villa, ending the match with two shots in the box, including one ‘big chance’.
Elsewhere, Moussa Diaby (£6.7m) passed a late fitness test to start but was quiet and taken off after an hour.
As for Ollie Watkins (£8.1m), he led the line well, earned the assist for Torres’ equaliser and struck the post with a late header. Still, it was Douglas Luiz (£5.4m) who racked up the most shots, with six overall.